back to article Microsoft immune system rejects execs

It looks like Steve Ballmer is doing a little pre-spring cleaning. Today, mega mobile network operator Vodafone announced the hiring of Pieter Knook, who spent the last five years running Microsoft's mobile business, and a handful of news organizations are reporting that at least two other top Redmond execs are on their way …


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  1. Troy Shanahan


    ... Yahoo! could change microsoft? Look on the bright side, at least MS isn't as evil as news corp.

    Who knows? A microsoft turnaround could be great, and it could be bad. But, stranger things have happened. I'm rather indifferent anyway.

  2. plastical

    I'm sorry, did I detect a hint of sarcasm?

    "Yahoo!, possibly the world's most popular dotcom."

    I'll just get my coat.

  3. Charles Manning

    Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic

    MS has a lot of momentum and can continue for a long time without any useful output from the engine room.

    What has MS actually done in the last few years that gets steam in the boilers?

    Only the Office and OS groups make any useful cash. xbox might just be doing better then break-even but not enough to pay for the rum. Let's forget about the RRODs for a while.

    Vista was pathetic. They only got sales because of existing market share and because they'd already taught the sales channels. Vista itself did nothing to defibrilate the corpse.

    Zune. Nuff sed.

    Uncle Bill has always pushed for MS to get into services because the OS does not matter in the long term. MSN and hotmail and their online music biz are falling like lead parachutes.

    Yahoo is big, but also shows a similar lack of innovation. Buying Yahoo would give MS a reprieve, but no long term guarantees.

    Earlier this week they bought Danger. Their current Smartphone suite is crap and they need something better, but primarily this was aimed at taking on Google Android.

    What is obvious is that Ballmer now has an all consuming Google obsession. Both the Yahoo and Danger deals are directly aimed at trying to take on Google.

    That obsession is so large that it is diverting MS from their only strengths: OS and Office. Vista apparently cost them $5bn to develop and they're willing to spend $40-odd bn for yahoo. If nothing else, this shows what's going on in Ballmer's brain.

    It is all fine and well to diversify and explore new interests, but you need to keep core business healthy. That's especially true if you have a history of screwing up almost every acquisition and diversification effort. Ballmer is not doing that so MS is suffering.

    I give then 10 years at the most.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "MS isn't as evil as news corp"

    I beg to differ. May their leaders *both* be first against the wall when the revolution comes.

  5. b4k4
    Jobs Horns


    they are probably off to infiltrate other companies and organisations, like they did with the BBC.

  6. Christopher Rogers


    Well said. MS may have the power and the glory now, but they ain't gonna keep it by playing a game of chess with google. They can only keep it by focusing on their strengths - desktops servers office utils.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    @AC: "MS isn't as evil as news corp"

    No... May they be third - all the world's Lawyers first, then all of the Health and Safety Executive, **then** the high-heejuns at MS and NewsCorp...

  8. Adam Trickett


    Well put, you need to have firm foundations.

    As crap as WIndows and Office are, they are their core business and both divisions are profitable, Balmer would be better off spending a few quid on fixing them up, or that core monopoly will wither and die sooner rather than later. Wasting $40bn on buying Yahoo! and obsessing over Google will only hasten the collapse at the core.

    I don't doubt that long term a services model is better even for Microsoft, but you can't put crap like Vista out when Mac and Linux are clearly superior. While Office is better than OpenOffice, it's not worth paying full price for for over 90% of it's user base. If it wasn't for their monopoly Vista/Office wouldn't be faring as well as they are now.

    I'm sure Google are pleased with the Yahoo bid, it will distract Microsoft in the short term, cost a fortune and the long term prospects of merging such divergent companies will surely destroy the combined entity. These departures demonstrate the problems they have now, imaging what it will be like in 12 months time...?

  9. Anonymous Coward

    "executive shuffle"

    I'm sure I was offered one of those for 50-quid down Soho last year.

    Mine's the grubby mac.

  10. Joel

    @ Adam

    "you can't put crap like Vista out when Mac and Linux are clearly superior."

    Microsoft has been putting Windows up against Apple's offerings for years, and the Apple operating system and hardware platform were always far better than DOS/Windows/Intel.

    Apparently, you can put crap like Vista out.

  11. Steven Ballmer

    Mind your own business!

    I'm sick and tired of you people peering over at us, critiquing everything I do! KISS OFF! Sometime I randomly throw a few people overboard, I don't like people feeling too comfortable in their jobs. Just policy!

  12. Mike Moyle

    Re: "MS isn't as evil as news corp"

    Don't waste the opportunity by putting them up against the wall...

    I'm imagining Steve "ChairBane" Ballmer vs. Rupert "The Fox" Murdoch in a steel-cage death-match on Pay-Per-View...

    (...or maybe Tina Turner singing "We Don't Need Another Zero" before a "Blunderdome" match, perhaps...?)

  13. Michael Compton

    re: Charles - 'Vista apparently cost them $5bn to develop'

    If thats true then MS appear more inefficient than the government. I use Vista and wouldn't really complain about it too much. But $5bn, I'd expect a greater advancement for that sort money. No wonder they charge a fortune for it.

  14. Brian Miller

    Good people hard to find, hard to keep

    From what I've seen inside Microsoft, this will accelerate. Anybody with talent, and who is keen to use it, will not stay inside of Microsoft. The will leave. The good people go, and the ones who are mediocre and lower will stay. New people with talent will come in, look around, and then leave. Right now groups are complaining about other group's lack of expertise. The place has a really low group intelligence, and its turning into nothing more than a jobs program for losers.

  15. Tim Strutt Silver badge
    Gates Horns


    Yes. That is all true.

    A little background - I believe that MS *has* been a service based company since at least the mid 1980s, when I was working for a large public utility. Our MS rep took us out to lunch (Yes, we bought that much stuff.). After a couple of drinks, one of our people asked the rep what MS's slogan was - You know like IBM's "Think".

    There was a pause for a while, and then he said that he thought they did not have one. Somebody else said that MS must have something, everybody else did.

    The rep thought a bit more and said "A hundred dollars a year from everyone." - "Where did that come from?" we said (or something similar) - "Bill" was the reply.

    History has shown this to be pretty accurate.

    Incidentally DEC's (Digital) slogan was "Honesty and respect for customers and employees." I wonder what happened to them? With a slogan like that, they must have done really well.

    Mine's the one with dinner stains down the front.

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